AW-101 helicopter investigation to come under air force chief: Minister

"I have delegated (the investigation) to the Air Force chief of staff, so wait for them," Ryacudu stated.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The investigation into the purchase of an AgustaWestland (AW-101) helicopter will be conducted under the Air Force chief of staff, according to Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.

"I have delegated (the investigation) to the Air Force chief of staff, so wait for them," Ryacudu stated at the Presidential Palace complex here, Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Air Force Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto had reported to the military chief on the establishment of a team to investigate the procurement of the AW-101 helicopter.

Tjahjanto said, the investigation covers planning, budget, and purchase of the helicopter.

"Earlier, the helicopter was ordered for the president, but he disagreed, as it was too expensive. Hence, we cancelled the order. PTDI (Dirgantara Indonesia) is capable of manufacturing this, so why not PTDI? This is what the president wants," Ryacudu noted.

Currently, an AW-101 has arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. The helicopter is reportedly worth US$55 million (Rp741 billion).

The minister has called on all parties to not exaggerate the case.

Ryacudu said he had shared the Finance Ministrys details of the defense budget with the Defense Ministry and the Indonesian Military.

"There is no problem," he clarified.

In November 2015, the Indonesian Air Force had expressed willingness to procure three AW-101 helicopters for VVIP transport missions. However, the following month, President Joko Widodo axed the deal on grounds of high costs.

However, the Air Force recently insisted on buying the same type of chopper, saying it was not for presidential purposes but for military use and search and rescue missions.(*)